CEBC and UNDP Sign Agreement to Establish Arab Business Forum for Sustainable Development and Green Economy

Dubai, 16th April, 2014 – The Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) & the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a new Business Forum for Sustainable Development and Green Economy in the Arab region. The MOU was signed during the World Green Economy Summit, which took place 15-16 in Dubai in conjunction with WETEX 2014.

The MOU was signed by CEBC Chairman, Dr. Nasser Saidi and UNDP Regional Director for Arab States, Dr. Sima Bahous. This partnership comes at a time when countries across the region face impacts of climate change and rising energy and water insecurity, which require more investment in clean technology innovation and finance. Affiliated to UNDPs Arab Climate Resilience Initiative (ACRI), the forum will act as a platform to mobilize the role of private sector in these areas to support resilience to climate change, nexus of energy-water solutions, and development of new low-carbon sustainable energy solutions that benefit the poor in particular.

CEBC’s chairman Dr. Saidi believes that this partnership could not come at a more opportune moment. ‘Under the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report, the MENA region is expected to become hotter and drier. The private sector needs both to prepare for this new reality but also to try and lead by example by mitigating carbon emissions through sustainable practices. This forum will catalyze this movement with an emphasis on information sharing, research and innovation’.

Dr. Kishan Khoday, UNDP Practice Leader for Environment & Energy in the Arab Region added that ‘The Arab region is the world’s most water insecure and faces serious risks from climate change, while a majority of the region’s poor lack access to sustainable energy. Key to addressing these challenges will be to engage the catalytic role of the private sector in supporting innovation and scaling up finance for sustainable development. The United Nations Development Programme supports initiatives across the Arab region that bring together Government, private sector and civil society for goals of sustainable development.’

The Arab region provides great potential and hosts significant opportunities for the private sector to engage in innovation and finance for sustainable development goals, especially with the increasing number of Arab as well as multinational companies in the region active in low-carbon approaches, sustainable energy, water conservation and the energy-water nexus. The Forum will allow businesses to debate the state of investments for clean technology in the region and means of scaling up.

This partnership will commit the two organizations to work together to share knowledge and expertise and catalyze new thought leadership and analysis of trends and opportunities in clean technology innovation and finance. This will include generating analytic reports to assess the state of private sector innovation and investments for the green economy in the Arab region and opportunities for scaling up. This will capture among other things success stories and lessons learned on the role of business, with a special focus on ways investment can be made to benefit the poor.

The partnership will also see join identification and development of practical investment projects at regional and local levels, in specific areas such as building resilience to climate change, expanding access to sustainable energy for the poor, and scaling up solutions for water conservation and treatment. This will build on initiatives underway in countries across the region by both UNDP and CEBC members.

The signing ceremony was preceded by a discussion on the partnership and was attended by leaders from both public and private sector including Emirates Environmental Group, GE, Cisco, Adenium Energy Capital, Ambata, Ashurst, Unidaan, Poyry, DNV-GL, Elster, GDF Suez, and many others.

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